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Full text of "Fourth Federal Design Assembly, Pension Building, Washington, D.C., September 21 and 22. Theme, The agency team"

Desi 



An exchange of 
information and 
ideas ielafechio 



for the 



■ no. 1$ j 
ist1978 




^4igff$0- 






Fourth Federal Design Assembly 
Pension Building, Washington, D.C. 
September 21 and 22 
Theme: The Agency Team 



". . .The Fourth Federal Design 
Assembly will highlight exam- 
ples of improved Federal de- 
sign . . . I urge all Federal 
agency heads to participate. . ." 

Letter from President Carter 

Text on page 2 



Preparation: Using federal 
supplies to build a showcase 
for design exhibits (page 3). 
Assembly program: Measuring 
progress and setting goals 
(page 4). 



Vindicated by history, 
shrouded in legend, sought for 
a new mission, the red-brick 
Pension Building is a fitting site 
for the Assembly (page 5). 




To encourage positive response to the Assembly's emphasis on the need for harmonious 
working relationships among the administrators and designers, Assembly sponsors will 



THE WHITE HOUSE 
WASHINGTON 

June 8, 1978 



Good design can help us meet our commitment to 
improve the efficiency of government and ease 
public access to Federal agencies and programs. 
Pleasant, productive work settings; lively, 
inviting buildings and grounds and attractive, 
readable publications are all important ways 
to carry out this commitment and reaffirm our 
concern for the human side of government. 

Some Federal agencies have already begun to 
improve architectural, interior and graphic 
design in their offices and programs. I am 
particularly pleased that these agencies have 
often been able to undertake these efforts 
with little or no additional funds and within 
existing administrative structures. 

Co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the 
Arts and the General Services Administration, 
the Fourth Federal Design Assembly will high- 
light examples of improved Federal design and 
offer suggestions for ways to achieve it. I 
am certain that it will be a valuable step in 
a direction to which I remain firmly committed, 
and I urge all Federal agency heads to par- 
ticipate in its useful and rewarding work. 




Text of a letter by President Carter that accompanied invitations to delegates to the Fourth 
Federal Design Assembly. 



assign each Federal team its own table for the proceedings This illustration depicts a 
typical agency team taking part in one of the scheduled informal discussion sessions 

Assembly to focus on The Agency Team 

The Fourth Federal Design Assembly, September 21 and 22, will 
emphasize teamwork, and the 800 delegates will know it the minute 
they take their seats beneath the towering Corinthian columns of the 
Pension Building's inner courtyard, scene of the assembly's major 
events. 

The delegates will sit as teams, at tables designated for each of the 
agencies participating in the meeting. These teams, of 6 to 14 
members each, will constitute the major segment of the audience for 
formal presentations about outstanding examples of design in 
government. Occupants of each table will also have time to 
participate in discussions and problem-solving exercises among 
themselves. 

"The agency team, as envisaged under this program, is made up 
of all the people required for carrying out all types of design, including 
on the team approach to the design process," said Jerry Perlmutter, 
director of the assembly. 

Perlmutter, Federal Graphics Coordinator at the Endowment, 
added: 

"The agency team, as envisioned under this program, is made up 
of all the people required for carrying out all types of design, including 
interior and graphic design, architecture, landscape and 
environmental planning. It is made up of people with a diversity of 
skills, including many who are not designers per se. Actually, in many 
instances, participants in the process are not aware of how their work 
influences that of their colleagues or how they might work together 
more closely to make their own jobs easier and to make the total 
effect of agency effort greater than the sum of each person's 
individual contribution. 

"It will be the primary purpose of the Fourth Federal Design 
Assembly to foster this synergistic effect. Each participant should 
leave with a better understanding of the federal design process and 
how to integrate it into federal decision making and policy." 

Key parts of the program will be presented by federal agency 
teams — teams responsible for developing and carrying out successful 
design programs. Other features will include remarks by widely known 
architects; graphics, interior, and industrial designers; public affairs 
officials and administrators. The delegates and visitors will tour 
Pennsylvania Avenue on foot and by bus, visit exhibits, and take part 
in informal forums. (A complete description of the program is on page 
3.) 

Attendance by delegates is by invitation, but others interested in 
information about provisions for attending as visitors may phone (202) 
857-0022 or 634-4286. 



A 



T nr^iggM» ~u. ; JBg,, j* ' ' '.''^j 




Looking west on Pennsylvania Avenue past proposed 
new plazas, this photograph shows Washington's Old 
Post Office, one of the landmarks on a walking tour of the 
Avenue that Assembly delegates will take. 

Program: Integrating design 
into federal policy 

The Fourth Federal Design Assembly will 
start with charges to the 800 delegates by 
the editors of three of the nation's major de- 
sign journals and end with an address by 
the federal government's chief advocate of 
arts activities, Joan Mondale. 

In the 36 hours between these two events 
the delegates will review strides made in the 
quality of federal design and measure the 
distance agencies must yet travel to reach 
optimum excellence. 

The charges will be delivered by William 
Marlin of Architectural Record; Stanley 
Abercrombie of Contract Interiors, and 
Mildred Friedman of Design Quarterly. The 
assembly co-chairmen, Livingston Biddle, 
chairman of the National Endowment for the 
Arts, and Jay Solomon, administrator of the 
General Services Administration, will reply to 
the charges. 

Attention will then turn to design of mon- 
umental scale. Gerald Patten, a planner for 
the National Park Service, and architect Le- 
land C. Allen, director of Design for the 
Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corpora- 
tion, will direct a discussion of "The Grand 
Design for Pennsylvania Avenue." Allen will 
begin the session with a description of the 
organization and operation of the Corpora- 
tion, a quasi-government body established 
to coordinate the complex public and private 
transactions required to revitalize the street 
that French landscape designer Pierre L'En- 
fant envisioned as the ceremonial axis be- 
tween the Capitol and the White House. 

The planners and designers working with 
PADC will outline the process for carrying 
out the master plan for the avenue, a 
scheme that is the culmination of some 16 
years of studies, surveys, and public dis- 
cussion. Others expected to take part in the 
presentation are landscape architect Hideo 
Sasaki, Sasaki Associates, Inc.; Jerome 
Lindsey, AIA, representing Jerome Lindsey 
Associates and M. Paul Friedberg and 
Partners; and John Rauch, AIA, representing 
George Patton, Inc., and Venturi and Rauch. 



IvvEPA JOURNAL I 
Hi 

The renovated graphic design studio in the basement of 
the Federal Reserve Board building. 

After the presentation, buses will take the 
delegates to Pennsylvania Avenue. They will 
divide into smaller groups for walking tours 
of parts of the street that will figure most 
prominently in the redesign. Docents of 
Architours, a non-profit firm that presents 
urban architectural tours, will guide each 
group to such landmarks as the old Post Of- 
fice and the Willard Hotel. 

The Pennsylvania Avenue session was 
planned under the leadership of Joan 
Shantz of the Arts Endowment, who is also 
planning coordinator for the whole assembly. 
The delegates will return to the Pension 
Building where, after lunch, they will discuss 
a report of a Task Force on Design, Art and 
Architecture in Transportation. In announc- 
ing the adoption by his department of this 
unified design policy, Transportation Secre- 
tary Brock Adams hailed it as a policy "that 
coordinates improvements in transportation 
systems with increments in the quality of life" 
(FDM, November, 1977). DOT's Martin Con- 
visser will lead the discussion. 

Before the next presentation each agency 
will have time to discuss issues that interest 
its members. An assembly handbook, to be 
given to each delegate, is designed to facili- 
tate these discussions. Conceived and de- 
veloped by Mack Rowe of the Federal Re- 
serve Board, it includes case studies of de- 
sign problem-solving. (See page 4.) 

The delegates will be called back into 
plenary session to hear a report on renova- 
tion of the Old Post Office by a team from 
the General Services Administration and 
representatives of the joint venture firms of 
Arthur Cotton Moore Associates; McGaughy, 
Marshall and McMillan; and Associated 
Space Design, Inc. GSA is supervising the 
renovation and Moore is the spokesman for 
the architect-engineer team selected in a 
1977 competition to design changes for the 
Richardsonian Romanesque structure — 
Washington's best and last major repre- 
sentation of this late 19th century style. Plans 
for this segment of the program were devel- 
oped by a committee led by the Arts 
Endowment's Lani Lattin Duke. 

After dinner the delegates and their 
agency colleagues will be encouraged to re- 
turn to the Pension Building to take part in 



informal discussions or to view the exhibits. 

When the assembly reconvenes at 
9:30 a.m. Friday, September 22, Nicholas 
Chaparos, the Endowment's coordinator of 
Federal Design Information and Education, 
will provide a brief overview of "New Direc- 
tions for Government Interiors." After this 
overview, representatives of three federal 
agencies will discuss progress on three 
exemplary projects. 

Louise Wiener, special assistant to the 
Secretary of Commerce for Cultural Re- 
sources and others from the Commerce De- 
partment, will discuss an interior-design 
process under way there that some de- 
signers regard as a potential pilot model for 
restoration and preservation of government 
buildings. Mack Rowe and his colleagues at 
the Federal Reserve Board will tell how they 
transformed cast-off basement space into a 
quality environment for offices and studios. 
David Dibner, assistant commissioner for 
construction management at GSA's Public 
Building Service will lead a meeting on stage 
of the GSA team that has been planning the 
renovation of a wing at GSA headquarters. 

After another round of agency-team dis- 
cussions and lunch, Pittsburgh graphics de- 
signer Grant Smith will narrate a slide pres- 
entation that will trace progress in visual 
communication in a number of government 
agencies which are using design as a man- 
agement tool. He will be followed by Thomas 
F Williams, Deputy Director of Public Aware- 
ness for the Environmental Protection 
Agency, and his colleagues who will de- 
scribe that agency's efforts to improve 
communication with the public. 

The visual communication segment, 
planned under the direction of Kay George, 
assistant coordinator of Federal Graphics for 
the Endowment, will end with a presentation 
by National Zoo Director Theodore Reed 
and his associates about the Zoo's design 
program. 

To conclude the assembly, Mrs. Mondale 
will assess the gains made in the quality of 
design in government and show how these 
advances contribute to the total quality of life 
of American citizens. 

All delegates are invited to a reception to 
be held immediately after adjournment. 

Special Assembly Event 

Groundbreaking ceremony to 
mark renovation of 
Old Post Office 

September 21 , 1:00 p.m. 

Front of Old Post Office 
immediately following 
delegates' tour of 
Pennsylvania Avenue 










■ 






■ ; 






1 




Major areas to be used by delegates to the Assembly are shown in this cutaway model of the Pension Building. 



Exhibits to display work 
in all phases of design 

Relying almost exclusively on materials 
and products that can be ordered from the 
government's comprehensive Federal Sup- 
ply Schedule, a host of people with diverse 
skills is working to compete a dynamic set- 
ting for the Fourth Federal Design Assembly. 

Occupying center stage in the 93-year-old 
Pension Building's interior court will be the 
stage itself. Grouped around it, arena style, 
will be tables for the delegates. Visitors will 
be seated in rows of chairs on the perimeter 
of the delegate area. Screens mounted on 
opposite sides of the court will provide un- 
obstructed views of audio-visual pres- 
entations for all parts of the audience. 

A scale model of the Pension Building 
built by Tom Bay helps facilitate decisions 
about seating arrangements, placement of 
exhibits, and other uses of space. 

By mid-summer the number of exhibits 
completed or planned had grown to nine. 
Plans for still others were tentative. Among 
those for which plans are firm will be an ex- 
hibit that traces the legislative history of the 
1976 Public Buildings Cooperative Use Act, 
legislation based on research and policy 
analysis by the National Arts Endowment's 
Task Force on Federal Architecture. The law 
authorizes the General Services Administra- 
tion to make available in new and rehabili- 



tated federal buildings space for appropriate 
commercial concerns. It also provides for 
adaptation of existing buildings of local his- 
toric, architectural, or cultural significance 
for use by federal agencies. The exhibit will 
illustrate ways in which GSA applied the act 
in both old buildings and new construction. 

Other exhibits will include a display of 
graphic designs of federal agencies that 
have adopted new standards for all their 
work; examples of New York designer Mas- 
simo Vignelli's formats for Senate 
documents; a display that reviews the state 
of the art for determining legibility and 
readability of type, and a 65-foot-long 
"fence" on which will be mounted 
documents produced by the Government 
Printing Office during a six-day period. 

These exhibits, some built to travel for 
display elsewhere, were designed and 
mounted by Stephanie Cornelia under the di- 
rection of designer Nicholas Chaparos, the 
Endowment's coordinator of design informa- 
tion and education. An exhibit about Penn- 
sylvania Avenue and a model of the planned 
renovation of the Old Post Office will also be 
featured in the assembly's exhibit area. 

The Pension Building will remain open 
until midnight on the first day of the Assem- 
bly to give delegates and the public addi- 
tional opportunities to view the exhibits and 
to permit delegates to use the building for 
informal discussions. 



Assembly handbook — 
a unique 
working tool 

A handbook prepared especially for the 
Fourth Federal Design Assembly will be 
used as a workbook and discussion guide in 
some of the sessions and serve as a refer- 
ence source after the assembly. Each dele- 
gate will receive a copy. 

The handbook contains the eight case 
studies presented at the assembly which 
document successful design processes 
used by federal-agency designers or admin- 
istrators. 

Each study defines the problem and gives 
the solution, outlines obstacles the 
principal participants faced, and evaluates 
the results. 

Another section presents typical problems 
encountered in government, along with pos- 
sible solutions. Delegates will be encour- 
aged to add their own problems and solu- 
tions and to send "unsolved" problems or 
questions to a Design Action Line, which the 
Arts Endowment will maintain as a follow-up 
to the assembly. 

The assembly handbook was prepared 
under the direction of Mack Rowe, chief of 
graphic communications of the Federal Re- 
serve Board. John Maxwell Hamilton was 
editor. 



Commonly interpreted as depicting Union forces on the march, a 3-foc 




This close-up shows details of the frieze, the work of sculptor Casper Buberl. who also molded the muses for the old 
Metropolitan Opera House in New York City 




cotta relief extends 1200 feet around the building between the first and second floors 

Assembly site: a building 
with a past and a future 

Once a way station to shelter upwardly 
mobile agencies while they waited for more 
modern quarters, the red-brick Pension 
Building in Washington's Judiciary Square 
has become a highly valued national asset. 

Early this year a national committee of 
prominent citizens proposed that the 93- 
year-old building be made a National 
Museum of the Building Arts. The proposal 
calls for permanent and changing ex- 
hibitions, an extensive nationwide public 
education program, and research services. 

"To advance the national goal of a suitable 
living environment for every American," said 
the committee, "the museum should be es- 
tablished by Congress." 

In April, Maryland Senator Charles 
Mathias introduced a bill, co-sponsored by 
nine other senators, to carry out this recom- 
mendation. 

Delegates to the Fourth Federal Design 
Assembly will be able to examine at close 
range features of the building that prompted 
the committee to choose it as the ideal site 
for a museum of building. 

The massive building was completed in 
1885 as a memorial to Civil War Veterans 
and as headquarters of the Pension Bureau, 
an agency that processed more than $8 bil- 
lion in payments to veterans of four wars and 



This photograph looks upward to the roof of the Pension 
Building, showing not only its classic details—the capital 
of one of the 76-foot-high columns and an elegantly dec- 
orated arch— but the clerestory windows that so effi- 
ciently light and ventilate the building 



The Assembly in Brief 

Co-chairmen: Livingston L. Biddle, Jr., and 
Jay Solomon 

Dates: September 21 and 22, 1978 

Place: Pension Building, 4th and G Streets, 
N.W., Washington, D.C. (Judiciary Square 
Metro Station) 

Hours: September 21, 8:30 a.m. -5:1 5 p.m. 
(The Pension Building will be open until mid- 
night for delegates and others to view ex- 
hibits, hold discussions, meet special 
guests.) 

September 22, 8:30 a.m. -4:00 p.m. 
(Reception follows adjournment.) 

Delegates: Teams from 60 agencies. Teams 
are made up of the following job categories: 
Chief Administrative Officer, Building Man- 
ager, Space Manager, Graphic Design 
Supervisor, Chief Editor, Procurement Offi- 
cer, Architect, Printing Officer, Landscape 
Architect, Public Affairs Chief, Interior De- 
signers, and Professional Engineer 

For further information, call 857-0022 or 
634-4286 



Planners for the Design 
Assembly 

Planning for the Fourth Federal Design 
Assembly began in the Arts Endowment 
almost a year ago under the direction of 
Jerry Perlmutter and coordinated by Joan 
Shantz. 

Committee members are Nicholas 
Chaparos, Birch Coffey, Lois Craig, Lani Lat- 
tin Duke, Mickey Friedman, Kay George, 
Roy Knight, Kay Lautman, Bill Marlin, Alan 
Marra, Gerald Patten, Bob Peck, Mack 
Rowe, Grant Smith, Peter Smith, Erma 
Striner, and Burt Woolf. 

Among those assisting the planners are 
Tom Bay, Bill Bonnell, Joan Campbell, 
Elizabeth Darr, Susan Mullendore, and Amy 
Orlian. 



their widows. Even before the building was 
completed, its colonnaded inner court was 
the scene of the inaugural ball for the first 
term of President Grover Cleveland. It was 
the first of nine inaugural balls held in the 
spacious court, the latest being a ball held 
for President Jimmy Carter and Vice- 
President Walter F. Mondale. 

The building contains approximately 
150,000 square feet of usable space in its 
three major floors and a fourth smaller one. 
Its two tiers of clerestory windows rise above 
the fourth level under a gable roof that peaks 
at 148 feet above street level. 

Delegates to the Fourth Federal Design 
Assembly will be seated in that same court, 
described by the authors of the museum 
proposal as "a breathtaking space marked 
by eight 76-foot-high Corinthian columns, 
surrounded by four tiers of galleries, and 
pleasantly lighted by clerestory windows." 
The words are those of architectural and 
urban design critic Wolf Von Eckardt and re- 
searcher Cynthia R. Field, who call the build- 
ing "a successful 19th century fusion of 
classical design and machine-age technol- 
ogy." 

As they approach the structure in Wash- 
ington's Judiciary Square, delegates will 
note the striking terra cotta frieze that ex- 
tends 1 ,200 feet around the exterior of the 
building between the first and second floors 
(see top of page). The work of Bohemian- 
American sculptor Casper Buberl, the bas- 
relief depicts soldiers and sailors, presuma- 
bly members of Union forces. 

In the years immediately after its comple- 
tion, the building was not universally ad- 
mired. Its designer was U.S. Quartermaster 
General Montgomery Meigs, who specified 
red bricks (2 1 /2 million were used) for its 
construction, making it fire resistant. This 
was an unusual technological achievement 
for that period, but it gave rise to some caus- 
tic comments from the building's detractors. 
Told of the building's fireproof construction, 
General Philip H. Sheridan is reported to 
have replied, "What a pity!" 

Sheridan made the remark, according to 
legend, at Cleveland's inaugural ball, where 
Buffalo Bill Cody was the center of attention. 
The old Indian fighter's presence is linked to 
still another legend, one that has been 
traced to an experience of a Pension Build- 
ing night-watchman some 30 years later. In 



the light of his gas lamp, the guard stared in 
disbelief at an image that formed on one of 
the columns, then finished to resemble onyx. 
The outline of an Indian began to form in the 
veins of the fake stone. Further down the 
column he saw a buffalo head. 

He dismissed the experience, convinced 
he had dreamed the whole thing. But the 
next day the strange profiles were still there. 
The morning papers reinforced his sense of 
awe. There on page one was a story about 
the death the night before of Buffalo Bill 
Cody. 

These were not the only apparitions to ap- 
pear in the columns. Another guard saw the 
outline of a skull. A 1920 newspaper article 
reports a visitation by profiles of George and 
Martha Washington. One night-watchman 
fled the building in panic, reporting that a 
horse almost rode him down. 

Many were convinced at the turn of the 
century that the building was frequented by 
the ghost of "Corporal Tanner." The title was 
applied to a veteran of the Civil War who had 
lost both feet in combat and who, while serv- 
ing as a shorthand clerk in the Bureau of 
Ordnance, was pressed into service to re- 
cord accounts of President Lincoln's assas- 
sination. James Tanner, after having made 
many public appearances to recount his ex- 
periences during the Lincoln death watch, 
became a commissioner of the Pension 
Board. Tanner's visitation to the building, 

National Endowment 
for the Arts 
Washington, D.C. 
20506 

Official Business 



legend holds, had little to do with affairs of 
the Pension Board. Robert Lincoln, as Secre- 
tary of War in the 1880s, had approved 
plans for the building. At about the same 
time a conspiracy theory about President 
Lincoln's assassination had gained wide 
currency. There were some who believed 
that the President's son had persuaded 
General Meigs to hide documents that would 
have shed light on the conspiracy theory in 
the voluminous hollow columns of the build- 
ing, fearing that the "truth," coming on the 
heels of the bloody Civil War, would destroy 
the republic. Some think Tanner, who knew 
some of the details, was eternally drawn 
back to the building in search of evidence. 

None of the Design Assembly delegates is 
likely to let any of these bizarre accounts 
keep them from taking a careful look at this 
remarkable example of federal design — a 
building that inspired Von Eckardt and Field 
to declare: "Although almost a hundred 
years old, it set an example for building in 
the future." 



Acknowledgments: 

Coordinator, Design Information and Education: 

Nick Chaparos 

Ass't Coordinator, Federal Graphics: 

Catherine F. George 

Editor/Writer: Simpson Lawson 

Research: Tom Bay 

Photos: Michael Bruce, Robert C. Lautman 

Illustration: Bill Bonnell, Angeline V. Culfogienis 



Postage and Fees Paid 
National Foundation on the Arts 
and the Humanities 




.ERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1978 O - 269-314 



Notice: Use of funds for printing this publication approved by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget 
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents. U S Government Printing Office. Washington, DC 20402— 
Price 75 cents (single copy) Subscription Price: $3 00 per year. 75 cents additional for foreign mailing. 



their widows. Even before the building was 
completed, its colonnaded inner court was 
the scene of the inaugural ball for the first 
term of President Graver Cleveland. It was 
the first of nine inaugural balls held in the 
spacious court, the latest being a ball held 
for President Jimmy Carter and Vice- 
President Walter F. Mondale. 

The building contains approximately 
150,000 square feet of usable space in its 
three major floors and a fourth smaller one. 
Its two tiers of clerestory windows rise above 
the fourth level under a gable roof that peaks 
at 148 feet above street level 

Delegates to the Fourth Federal Design 
Assembly will be seated in that same court, 
described by the authors of the museum 
proposal as "a breathtaking space marked 
by eight 76-foot-high Corinthian columns, 
surrounded by four tiers of galleries, and 
pleasantly lighted by clerestory windows." 
The words are those of architectural and 
urban design critic Wolf Von Eckardt and re- 
searcher Cynthia R. Field, who call the build- 
ing "a successful 19th century fusion of 
classical design and machine-age technol- 
ogy." 

As they approach the structure in Wash- 
ington's Judiciary Square, delegates will 
note the striking terra cotta frieze that ex- 
tends 1 ,200 feet around the exterior of the 
building between the first and second floors 
(see top of page). The work of Bohemian- 
American sculptor Casper Buberl, the bas- 
relief depicts soldiers and sailors, presuma- 
bly members of Union forces. 

In the years immediately after its comple- 
tion, the building was not universally ad- 
mired. Its designer was U.S. Quartermaster 
General Montgomery Meigs, who specified 
red bricks (2 1 /2 million were used) for its 
construction, making it fire resistant. This 
was an unusual technological achievement 
for that period, but it gave rise to some caus- 
tic comments from the building's detractors. 
Told of the building's fireproof construction, 
General Philip H. Sheridan is reported to 
have replied, "What a pity!" 

Sheridan made the remark, according to 
legend, at Cleveland's inaugural ball, where 
Buffalo Bill Cody was the center of attention. 
The old Indian fighter's presence is linked to 
still another legend, one that has been 
traced to an experience of a Pension Build- 
ing night-watchman some 30 years later. In 

6 



the light of his gas lamp, the guard stared in 
disbelief at an image that formed on one of 
the columns, then finished to resemble onyx. 
The outline of an Indian began to form in the 
veins of the fake stone. Further down the 
column he saw a buffalo head. 

He dismissed the experience, convinced 
he had dreamed the whole thing. But the 
next day the strange profiles were still there. 
The morning papers reinforced his sense of 
awe. There on page one was a story about 
the death the night before of Buffalo Bill 
Cody. 

These were not the only apparitions to ap- 
pear in the columns. Another guard saw the 
outline of a skull. A 1920 newspaper article 
reports a visitation by profiles of George and 
Martha Washington. One night-watchman 
fled the building in panic, reporting that a 
horse almost rode him down. 

Many were convinced at the turn of the 
century that the building was frequented by 
the ghost of "Corporal Tanner." The title was 
applied to a veteran of the Civil War who had 
lost both feet in combat and who, while serv- 
ing as a shorthand clerk in the Bureau of 
Ordnance, was pressed into service to re- 
cord accounts of President Lincoln's assas- 
sination. James Tanner, after having made 
many public appearances to recount his ex- 
periences during the Lincoln death watch, 
became a commissioner of the Pension 
Board. Tanner's visitation to the building, 

National Endowment 
for the Arts 
Washington, D.C. 
20506 

Official Business 



legend holds, had little to do with affairs of 
the Pension Board. Robert Lincoln, as Secre- 
tary of War in the 1880s, had approved 
plans for the building. At about the same 
time a conspiracy theory about President 
Lincoln's assassination had gained wide 
currency. There were some who believed 
that the President's son had persuaded 
General Meigs to hide documents that would 
have shed light on the conspiracy theory in 
the voluminous hollow columns of the build- 
ing, fearing that the "truth," coming on the 
heels of the bloody Civil War, would destroy 
the republic. Some think Tanner, who knew 
some of the details, was eternally drawn 
back to the building in search of evidence. 

None of the Design Assembly delegates is 
likely to let any of these bizarre accounts 
keep them from taking a careful look at this 
remarkable example of federal design — a 
building that inspired Von Eckardt and Field 
to declare: "Although almost a hundred 
years old, it set an example for building in 
the future." 



Acknowledgments: 

Coordinator, Design Information and Education: 

Nick Chaparos 

Ass't Coordinator, Federal Graphics: 

Catherine F. George 

Editor/Writer: Simpson Lawson 

Research. Tom Bay 

Photos Michael Bruce, Robert C Lautman 

Illustration: Bill Bonnell, Angelme V. Culfogiems 



Postage and Fees Paid 
National Foundation on the Arts 
and the Humanities 




U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1978 O - 269-314 



Notice: Use ot funds for printing this publication approved by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget 
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents. U S Government Printing Office, Washington. D C 20402— 
Price 75 cents (single copy) Subscription Price $3 00 per year, 75 cents additional for foreign mailing